Character running toward camera

Working on a folktale video I came up with this method to have a character running from background to foreground (with a limited workload). Don’t know if it is the best way.

Happy for feedback and other ideas.

(- 4 minutes 14 seconds into the 11 min 48 seconds project -)

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@PerKGrok I think it’s a great solution indeed. With enough confidence on the material I’d personally try to make the complete camera move on the second step (around 1:12) but just looking at this makes it pretty obvious that Pencil2D needs several things:

  1. A way to filter selectively the influence of the camera (i.e make the camera[s] affect specific layers) so we can move specific layers with specific cameras (this would be similar to “pegs” in other software)
  2. A way to manipulate & transform several drawings across time, preferably with a motion path constructed from the transform box “origin” or “pivot”.
  3. A way to loop a set of drawings efficiently to avoid needless duplication. My first thought when you were duplicating was how much easier this would be with a sort of interactive group container that allowed automatic repetition over the timeline.
  4. A way to have fine control over the camera motion such as separate transformation options (position, rotation, scale) and dimensions (x, y)
  5. Exporting / Importing multiple image sequences can get troublesome with larger projects, fortunately in an upcoming version it seems we now have a way to import layers directly from other Pencil2D files which would help to improve the workflow in this case (cycle > camera > final shot). However since you can only import the layers themselves going from the camera animation to final shot would still require exporting a sequence. If we were somehow able to implement feature #1, importing both animation and camera /peg would be possible and useful as well cutting a lot of unnecessary steps…

Most of these I’ve already asked for in the feature tracker, but I honestly don’t know when we will be able to get such functions added since there are still critical bugs that require patching and other larger features are being worked on so the developers don’t have time to tackle more :pensive:

That said If you don’t mind complementing Pencil2D with other software, I think you could use Synfig, another open source animation software, to improve on the looping and camera steps and then export back to Pencil2D if you want to (though looking at your workflow, you might not even need to).

In Synfig there is a way to have looping via an effect layer and you can physically move the cycle “group” similarly to how you did in Pencil2D, but the advantage is that you can make the inbetweens more automatic.

I’ll see if I can make a tutorial on it, though my time is limited so apologies if it takes time, the only problem lies with importing image sequences which is a quite involved step and requires detailed guidance, fortunately for their next version it will be vastly improved.

@PerKGrok Yes that’s probably how I would have done it too. Here are a couple of time saving tips:

  • When you want to duplicate a sequence over and over again, it can be easier to simply re-import the image sequence. You can even solo the layer you are importing to and then export that after you have duplicated the sequence a few times and reimport that new sequence so that you are adding multiple loops each time you import the sequence. For example, you could import the walk cycle 3 times, export just that layer, then import the new image sequence (which would add 3 cycles each time you import it). It can be exported multiple times if you want to make a lot of copies, the benefits of this approach compound.
  • Use the shortcuts. Particularly for the part where you are moving each of the images manually, you can make it quicker by staying on the move tool and using CTRL+A to select the whole drawing. You could also use a shortcut to change the frame when you are done. By default I think that’s CTRL+, and CTRL+. but I personally have them mapped to [ and ] .

That said If you don’t mind complementing Pencil2D with other software…

I do use a number of different softwares for different tasks.

I could easily have done this scene in OpenToonz.

(I did try Synfig a number of years ago. Did not work out. To much work figuring out how to use it. It might be better today.)

I’m now trying to find out in what ways to use Pencil2D that works well for me. I do feel that that the program has a lot going for it, that will make it a useful tool for me. Being a bit of a multi tasker I like programs that don’t look like the control panel of a jumbo jet and that you don’t have to go through complex instructions just to to tax it out to the starting strip (to keep to the jumbo jet analogy).

It also has a lot of stuff that could be improved as you pointed out.

Thanks. Those are helpful tips to speed things up. :slightly_smiling_face: